Alter Group Plans Hotel Near Chicago’s McCormick Place

The Alter Group has acquired a 3.7-acre site near Chicago’s massive McCormick Place convention center, with plans to develop a large new hotel there. The parcel’s previous owners, a husband-and-wife team of Maine real estate developers, sold the property to Skokie, Ill.-based Alter for about $70 million in a deal inked in December. It is already zoned for a hotel. Plans are still at a very early stage, but the hotel may end up as large as 1,500 rooms in two towers, according to Matthew Ward, Alter Group senior vice president. The project would also include about 100,000 square feet of meeting space, plus shops, restaurants and parking. “McCormick Place booking is going to be the key driver for this project, but also important is the relative dearth of hotel rooms in Downtown Chicago, as well as the emerging growth of the South Loop,” Ward told CPN this morning. “We’re confident in the preeminence of McCormick Place and Chicago as a convention destination. There are only so many times a convention can go to Orlando or Las Vegas. Chicago’s always going to remain attractive to a diverse group of conventions.” Currently there is only one other major hotel in the vicinity of the convention center — which itself was expanded again last summer — the 600-room Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, owned by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (McPier). Any new hotel near McCormick, or in the South Loop for that matter, would also be in a good position to take advantage of an influx of athletes, media and spectators if Chicago wins the 2016 Olympic Games. The development still has quite a ways to go before it becomes a reality, Richard Gatto, executive vice president of the Alter Group, told CPN this morning. “There are a lot of moving parts,” he noted. “There has to be a development agreement with the city, TIF negotiations, and talks with the Landmarks Council and McPier, among other groups. But we believe that demand for hotel rooms near McCormick is strong, and the momentum for the project is strong as well.”